My experience with the Paleo diet so far..

As mentioned in a previous article, I have been highly interested in the paleo diet for a couple of years now and had been basically eating a semi paleo diet. Since then I’ve read 4 books on the subject, and I’d say I’m basically full on paleo now. I’d like to share the differences I’ve noticed so far since going full paleo…

One of the biggest differences I notice is I experience very little pain now. I used to have random pains in my body and they’re now pretty much gone, I also have zero stomach pain, and I have had no acid reflux or heartburn at all. Another difference is an increase in energy, although not at first. For a couple weeks I had experienced what is know as the “carb flu”, in which your body goes a little nuts and is adjusting to a lower carbohydrate intake and higher fat intake. I was pretty tired all day despite sleeping well, the only thing that would help is eating something that was higher in carbs and/or caffeine such as a cup of coffee with a couple teaspoons of sugar.

Another difference is that despite not weightlifting in a little over 2 weeks, I have retained pretty much all of my strength as evidenced by a session today. This surprised me quite a bit. I also seem to be losing weight: I look smaller in mirrors, my clothes are becoming loose and just by looking at my thighs they seemed to have decreased in size.

All of this I have noticed just in a few weeks, and I’m feeling better each and every day. So far it’s great and I can’t wait to see even more progress as time goes by..

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4 tips to motivate yourself to exercise continually and consistently!

A lot of people start exercising for New Years or whatever reason, but many aren’t able to keep it up continually and consistently. Here are 4 tips that should help!

1. Find exercise(s) that you enjoy!: Possibly the best way to stick to exercising is doing something that you actually enjoy doing. There are various exercises, workout regimens, sports etc so there has to be at least something you like! The fact is that the more you enjoy something, the more you’ll mostly likely do it.

2. Find an exercise buddy: Having an exercise buddy is great as you’ll have somebody besides yourself to motivate you, somebody who you can have friendly competition with, etc

3. Tell yourself to just do 5 minutes of the exercise: Do 5 minutes of the exercise you wish to do, and you’ll want to do more I bet. Even exercising for that long will release endorphins, chemicals that make you feel good. It may motivate you to continue doing the exercise.

4. Proper sleep and diet: If you don’t sleep enough or even too much, you’ll have less energy and less motivation to do things such as exercise. Somewhat related is if you don’t eat enough and/or get proper nutrients, you won’t have as much energy, it may contribute to sleep issues and you won’t be producing enough dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter heavily involved with motivation. If you don’t produce enough dopamine, your motivation will worsen. Eating a proper diet will give your body the building blocks to produce dopamine. 

Anxiety and Stress – 7 ways to naturally reduce/treat them!

Anxiety and stress are both natural responses that everybody has in daily life. If we didn’t have these responses, we wouldn’t worry about things such as exams, goals, etc as healthy stress and anxiety can push and motivate you to do things. However, they can become a disorder when they happen constantly and are of severe crippling intensity, among other diagnostic criteria. There are ways to reduce “normal” stress and anxiety naturally that also could help when they become a disorder. I myself suffer from a anxiety disorder, which took me a while to become just about fully in control of it. Here are some tips that I and others have used to successfully reduce and/or treat anxiety and stress in your life!

1. Eat a healthy diet full of nutrients, especially B vitamins and omega 3s!: A healthy diet will provide all the building blocks of neurotransmitters, feel good chemicals involved in transmitting messages between nerve cells. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin are thought to be very much involved in mental disorders, including anxiety disorders. Another lesser known thing that may be involved in mental disorders is inflammation, which a healthy diet full of omega 3s can also help with. Finally, B vitamins are thought to help with the regulation of stress, so of course making sure you take enough in may also help.

2. Exercise!: Exercise, besides having many other benefits can help with stress and anxiety. When doing exercise, your body releases feel good chemicals called endorphins, which when in a bout of stress or anxiety can definitely help you feel better. Beside that exercise can give you something to focus on and can improve self esteem, self confidence and self worth, all of which can help you to deal with anxiety and stress better.

3: Relaxation: There are many ways to relax, some ways work for some people while not working for other people. If you know what can relax you, practise it daily if you can. Ways that I use for myself include hot showers and deep breathing, as they seemingly work instantly or almost instantly to help me when stressed and/or anxious.
Other ways that people use to relax include meditation and yoga.

4. Adequate sleep: When you don’t get enough sleep, your body’s response to stress seems to worsen and personally when I don’t get enough sleep, I get highly anxious.

5. CBT: If suffering from an actual full blown anxiety disorder, CBT, which stands for cognitive behavioural therapy can help. I myself have done it in the past and can attest to it’s efficacy. It involves examining how thoughts, behaviors and emotions interact with each other. Some but not all mental health professionals are trained in it including nurses and psychologists. It can be an effective treatment alone or along with medication.

6. Exposure therapy: Similarly to CBT, if suffering from an anxiety disorder, exposure therapy can help. It involves exposing yourself to the actual thing that triggers your anxiety. I believe it works because your body will learn to cope with the stressor through natural mechanisms. The more your exposed to it, the more you will get used to it and be able to deal with it more effectively.

7. Music: Another way people deal with anxiety and stress is listening to music. Music can make you feel good and give you something to focus on rather then worrying. I myself love music and I can definitely say it helps!

Obesity: A very complex thing..

Some consider obesity a disease, some don’t. It is now considered a disease in the U.S, recently being classified as such. I honestly don’t know what I I’d consider it, it is a very complex thing. Here are just some of my views on it:

In some cases it is a direct result of poor diet and/or little to no exercise. That to me indicates something else rather then a disease. Usually when I think disease I think the flu, celiac, even something like high blood pressure. Sometimes I debate in my mind could obesity be considered a mental disorder?  Most people aren’t born obese, some people do it to themselves. Sort of like something psychologically drives them to eat like crap and not exercise. It could also go the other way around, could obesity be a symptom of an underlying mental disorder such as depression? Depression can certainly lower your motivation to do things like eat right and exercise.

In other cases of obesity, it can be mainly caused by certain genes. Certain genes could make the person store more fat, it could make them want to eat more then the general population, etc. Could obesity in some cases be classified as genetic disease/disorder?

Some other cases it could be caused by overactive or underactive hormones such as leptin. Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite and fullness, so if it was low for whatever reason it may make me you eat more. Could obesity be considered an endocrine(hormonal) disorder?

Overall what I’m trying to say is that obesity is very complicated, maybe there should be a subtype for what is deemed the main cause of it in the individual who has it? Or is obesity best viewed as a catch all disease, covering the many possible causes of it within one classification? I really don’t know..

My 3 personal goals for 2014!

Goals, resolutions, whatever you wish to call them, many people decide to start some in a new year. I have 3 main goals for 2014, and all seem highly achievable. For some reason, I wish to share my goals with you, the readers of my blog. Here goes nothing:

1. Quite possibly my biggest goal for 2014 is to become a certified personal trainer. Right now I don’t have any credentials at all, despite possessing quite a bit of knowledge on fitness and nutrition. I’ve gained most of my knowledge from researching constantly everyday on the internet and reading books, no actual formal training. The reasons that I wish to become a personal trainer include: The fact that more people will listen and actually trust that I know at least something when I talk about fitness/nutrition, I could probably find a job as a personal trainer which will both benefit me and others, and of course it’ll help quench my thirst for knowledge.

2. Another goal of mine is to graduate from (adult) high school. The highest grade in high school that I actually completed was grade 11, which may seem surprising considering my knowledge. I had basically gave up on school due to being bullied and low motivation, among other reasons why. Besides these reasons, I actually enjoyed school. I’ve always loved learning things, with my three favorite subjects being of course Biology, English and History. In a few weeks however I will be starting an adult high school program, which I should be able to complete in a few months. The people I had met about it had said I was highly intelligent, and I had actually scored 100% on both the initial English and Math assessments. I can vividly picture myself at the graduation ceremony, as I know that it’s within my reach…

3. My third and final goal is to get into even better shape. Despite my knowledge of fitness and nutrition and religiously weightlifting, I’m still not in the shape that I would like to be. Two big factors to this that I recently conquered were antipsychotic medication and celiac disease. Being diagnosed with psychosis about 3 years ago, I have been on antipsychotics the majority of that time. I’ve gained quite a bit of weight since starting them, at one point gaining a pound a week. I’ve researched the issue quite a bit, and have come to the conclusion that it was messing with my metabolism, especially fat metabolism. About a month ago however, I decided to get off my antipsychotic and also my antidepressant medication. Since then I’ve noticed more energy, better mood, less appetite, increased libido, and although I can’t objectively measure it at the moment, weight loss.

Now to address the other factor: my celiac disease. This disease can cause bloating and reduce nutrient absorption if not eating a gluten-free diet, both of which don’t help weight loss at all. About two weeks ago or so I switched back to a gluten free, somewhat paleo based diet due to renewing my resolve to conquer celiac. The bloating is of course gone, it had subsided within a few days and my nutrient absorption should be improving as well.

With these 2 factors taken care of along with continued weightlifting, I should be able to consistently lose weight and get into even better shape, hopefully within a few months…

Grains, Sugar and Artificial Trans Fats – The Dietary Axis of Evil!

(The title being a reference to the 3 countries former US president George W Bush referred to as the “Axis of Evil”)

There 3 things are quite possibly the main cause of chronic modern diseases that are related to diet such as diabetes and obesity. In this article I shall explain why I think this!
         
Grains: Grains despite being promoted as “health food”, seem to be one of the leading causes of modern disease. Our ancestors didn’t even have grains, they were created through agriculture and there creation seems to coincide with rises in diseases. Besides the historical viewpoint, from a biological viewpoint they contain mass amounts of carbohydrates and antinutrients like lectins and phytic acid. All carbohydrates are eventually broken down into sugar, which of course we all know is quite unhealthy for you. The antinutrients block various micronutrients from absorbing, which in turn can lead to deficiencies and malnutrition

Sugar: We all know or at least most of us know sugar is bad. Sugar despite being fuel to the body, has a lot of negative health effects. Sugar can be highly addictive, impairs immune function, increases insulin resistance, along with a whole host of other negative effects.

Artificial Trans Fats: These fats are quite honestly horrible and to be avoided at all costs. Mainstream nutrition is even cracking down on them, the FDA in the US wishes to reduce most if not all artificial trans fats in the food supply. They have no biological function in the human body, and like that of sugar have a lot of negative effects on your health such as worsening your cholesterol profile, promoting fat storage, etc

Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein explained!

Carbohydrates, fats and protein are the 3 main macronutrients for the human body. The macro in macronutrients means in large amounts which is in contrast to the micronutrients, where the micro means in small amounts. Macronutrients are essential to live and are made of varying amounts of elements such as oxygen and hydrogen. In this post I shall explain what they are..

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body as all carbohydrates are eventually broken down into sugar. There are 2 main types of carbohydrates, complex and simple. Complex ones generally takes longer to digest and have less of an effect on blood sugar. Simple ones are quickly digested and increase blood sugar greatly. Diets such as the paleo diet forgo most common sources of carbohydrates as all carbohydrates even of the complex variety increase blood sugar to some degree. Also the presence of high amounts of antinutrients such as phytic acid and lectins which impair absorption of micronutrients is another reasoning why. The paleo diet receives carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, nuts and starchy tubers.

Fats: Fats, scientifically known as fatty acids have various functions in the body. They synthesize hormones, are a major part of cell membranes, can be a source of energy for the body, among other functions. Fats have a bad rap in mainstream nutrition despite having important functions in the body. The only truly unhealthy fat are artificial trans fats, which have no function in the body at all and have various unhealthy effects.

Protein: Proteins are made of various amino acids, but to be a “complete” protein the protein has to at least consist of the 9 essential amino acids. The main function of protein is to build and repair structures in the body. It also has other functions such as being converted into glucose(sugar) if you do not take in enough carbohydrates. Protein is probably the least criticized macronutrient in mainstream nutrition as both carbohydrates and fats have had varying degrees of criticism through the years. Despite this, protein recommendations in mainstream nutrition are very low even for athletes, despite much scientific evidence to the contrary. At the very least athletes should be consuming atleast .75 grams per pound of bodyweight.